10 – 14 March: The week in news


saw much bad news for business. First BDO Stoy Hayward revealed its Industry Watch Report had concluded there will be 70,000 busines failures over the next three years, while research from the Institute of Directors showed that business is paying more tax than ever. Perhaps the biggest news of the day was the FTSE 100 backlash against the Higgs report on non executive directors which saw the recommendations come in for major criticism.

On Tuesday the governement felt compelled to come out fighting on behalf of Higgs with Gordon Brown stating it was full steam ahead on the recommendations. Meanwhile research showed the general public is largely ignorant of the extra National Insurance contributions that are set to come into force next month.

Further efforts came on Wednesday from government to support Higgs as Ruth Kelly, financial secretary to the Treasury said business was beginning to ‘lose a sense of proportion’ over the report. The day also saw John Major, audit committee chairman at automotive engineering group Mayflower, quit is post as a non executive director.

Thursday saw Accountancy Age reveal that finance directors are unlikely to oppose a move to introduce an audit liability cap, giving a major boost to the big firms seeking the measure. Elsewhere it emerged there is a growing clash between banks and insolvency pratitioners. IPs accuse banks of trying to remain their preferential creditor status when legislation has long since removed that priviledge.

Finally Friday saw the culmination of the rape tape allegations in Prince Charles household. The investigation was conducted by Sir Michael Peat, former keeper of the privy purse – FD to the Queen – and now private secretary to the prince.

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